Topic: In the News

EDMC Informs about Health Hazards of Coal Tar Sealants

Posted on October 26, 2016 by - Environmental Tips, In the News

Woodstock, IL – October 21, 2016- On October 18th, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County sent information regarding the dangers of coal tar sealants to over 250 establishments throughout McHenry County. Recipients included city/village leaders, Park, Road and School Districts, hospitals, libraries, daycare centers and theaters. Included in the information was a six-page factsheet from the United States Geological Survey, which concludes that coal tar sealants contain extremely high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (PAHs), “which have been known to cause cancer, mutations, birth defects or death in fish and other aquatic organisms.”  Coal tar is a known human carcinogen and asphalt sealant, therefore, is recommended for sealing paved surfaces.

The Environmental Defenders strongly encourages that our communities cease the use of coal tar sealants on pavement and reports that eight municipal and township members of the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) adopted a resolution in January 2016 committing to not purchase or apply coal tar or other high PAH sealants.

Founded in 1970, The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the environment in McHenry County.

 

Contact:

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County

Email: envirodefmc@gmail.com

110 S. Johnson Street, Suite 106

Woodstock, IL 60098.

Ph: 815-338-0393

www.mcdef.org.  Like us on Facebook! Twitter

EDMC Seeking Support to Reopen Styrofoam Recycling Sites

Posted on September 23, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

WOODSTOCK – In July of 2016, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County reluctantly ended their Styrofoam recycling program and closed their many drop-off sites. The increased popularity of the program resulted in rising costs due to greater and greater quantities of collected material. Additionally, the Defenders were limited in the number of responsible recyclers that would accept the material. Thankfully, the Dart Corporation recently reached out to them to provide logistical support once the Styrofoam is collected. However, financial resources are still needed to provide transportation and labor getting foam to and from collection sites, once they are reestablished. This is the reason the Defenders just launched a fundraising campaign called “Cloud Based Styrofoam”. They are seeking donations to fully fund three to five years of the collection program, to reopen local sites and to expand efforts into neighboring communities. Read more about the campaign at Generosity.com or by clicking this link: https://goo.gl/ygPa6s

With the news attention being given to the plight of the program through the Chicago Tribune and Northwest Herald newspapers, by WBBM radio and, recently, through a story aired on WGN’s 10:00 news, the Defenders are looking forward to catapulting the Styrofoam recycling campaign forward. If you have questions, please contact the Environmental Defenders office at 815-338-0393, or Ken Santowski directly, at 847-910-2985

Annual community cleanup of Fox River set for mid-September

Posted on August 29, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

Published: Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 5:30 a.m. CDT

ALGONQUIN – McHenry County residents will be able to help clean up the Fox River by participating in the ninth annual “It’s Our River Day” celebration Sept. 17.

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the village of Algonquin are sponsoring the local celebration of the statewide initiative from 1 to 4 p.m. at Cornish Park, 101 S. Harrison St. The initiative was created in 2004 by the Illinois River Coordinating Council and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to create awareness of the state’s major waterway.

Volunteers will help clean up the Fox River while learning more about local environmental groups. Some local organizations participating in this year’s river cleanup event include the Land Conservancy of McHenry County, Illinois Paddling Council, Algonquin Rotary Club, Friends of the Fox, Sierra Club and McHenry Conservation District.

There also will be a live water rescue demonstration provided by the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District during the event.

Event co-coordinator Cynthia Kanner, with the Environment Defenders, said about 70 to 100 volunteers attended the celebration last year.

“It’s a day to just to celebrate the Fox River,” Kanner said. “We’d love to have more people come down this year and help appreciate that part of the river.”

http://www.nwherald.com/2016/08/26/annual-community-cleanup-of-fox-river-set-for-mid-september/aebp9wb/

Woodstock giving residents reusable grocery bags in eco-friendly campaign

Posted on August 29, 2016 by - In the News

City will distribute reusable bags as part of environmental initiative

Published: Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 12:45 a.m. CDT

Caption

(Sarah Nader)

WOODSTOCK – The city wants to make it easier for Woodstock residents to opt for cloth over paper or plastic.

The city will buy 15,000 customized reusable grocery bags and distribute them to residents in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Woodstock’s Environmental and Culture and Social Awareness commissions are leading the initiative. The bags are expected in November and the commissions also are working on marketing strategy, community education and a website dedicated to the initiative and local sponsors.

About 9,000 of the bags will go to Woodstock homes and the rest will be available to buy at City Hall and potentially partnering stores, said Laura Crain, chairwoman of the joint commissions.

The project doesn’t have any definite sponsors yet, but there has been interest in the program, she said.

“It’s not just our main, big box retailers but small businesses that are very interested in the option,” she said. “It can actually be cost saving for retailers when customers use reusable bags. … I don’t think the community will ever get to 100 percent plastic free, but we want to see it reduced and the impact on community diminished.”

The McHenry County Board in July declared August “Bring Your Own Bag” month. That campaign is headed up by an advocacy group with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County. The group is working with Woodstock and has prompted similar initiatives in Crystal Lake, Cary and Algonquin, among others.

“Of course, the bring your own bag proclamation should be the beginning of changing behavior,” said Cynthia Kanner, with the defenders.

The group is working to draft an ordinance that would have retailers charge customers for paper and plastic bags, similar to Aldi stores, she said. The group would ask different towns in McHenry County to consider the idea.

“Charging has been proven to be a good deterrent,” she said. “And people are beginning to realize that some stores will give you 5 cents off if you bring your own bag. I definitely see more people bringing their own bags, but there are still way too many shopping carts coming out of the stores with tons of plastic.”

 

Read the article HERE.

Environmental Defenders, municipalities try to keep up with demand for TV recycling

Posted on June 13, 2016 by - In the News

Copyright Northwest Herald, June 11, 2016 http://www.nwherald.com/2016/05/25/environmental-defenders-municipalities-try-to-keep-up-with-demand-for-tv-recycling/afpr6z5/

 

When Sue Jensen used to see TVs dumped on random curbs or in Dumpsters, she thought people were putting them there because they were unaware Illinois had banned electronic devices in landfills in 2012.

Four years after the ban began, Jensen no longer believes ignorance is the issue.

“I think TVs are on the curb now – or in the ditch, or in the river – because people are frustrated there’s nowhere else for them to put it,” Jensen said.

Jensen, a board member of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, sees firsthand how much the demand for recycling of electronics – particularly TVs – has exploded in recent months.

She and Ken Santowski, another Defenders board member who also is on the Lakewood Village Board, have led the effort to give McHenry County residents a place to recycle those devices.

A series of events has contributed to the spike in demand, including the fact that a Spring Grove vendor who previously collaborated with many municipalities went out of business.

Meanwhile, stores such as Best Buy that used to accept TVs have stopped because state law dictates they cannot charge for the service.

The Defenders accept electronics at their monthly recycling drives, charging 50 cents a pound (up to $40) for TVs and computer monitors, which is allowed because the organization is a 501(c)(3) charity.

Santowski provides trucks and other resources from the company he co-owns, Elgin’s Chicago Logistic Services, and the events are run by volunteers. The Defenders do not profit – the collected fees cover the cost of hauling and recycling.

“A lot of times, people just assume – why else would we be doing it if we weren’t making money?” Jensen said. “That’s why we are the only ones left doing it: We’re doing it because we care about the environment.”

The Defenders always have worked to fill a niche for recycling that’s not being offered elsewhere, Jensen said, but the influx of TVs got so huge last last year that the group reached a “crisis point” and suspended its monthly drives for three months to regroup.

The first three drives of 2016 yielded 34,000 pounds of TVs, they said.

Although municipalities also cannot charge for electronics recycling, several have worked with trash collectors or other companies to arrange spring cleaning events, only to see the events get swamped.

Cary hosted a recycling drive for residents on April 23 and anticipated double the 70 vehicles it served at last year’s event. The event ended up serving 315 vehicles, mostly with TVs, before the line had to be cut off with dozens still waiting.

“It’s pent-up demand is what it is,” Village Administrator Chris Clark said. “We’re talking about a lot of very, very large TVs, not just small televisions or monitors. … It becomes an issue of safety.”

In McHenry, a May 21 event yielded about 30,000 pounds of TVs, nearly double its collection from last year, Public Works Director Jon Schmitt said.

Algonquin Township, which hosts a monthly drive for residents, had to institute a limit of one TV or monitor per household per month. At its April drive, Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller said the line stretched down Route 14 from the Country Gas station in Crystal Lake to the Thornton’s in Cary.

“What happens is, you open the door, and my good golly, they just keep coming,” Miller said.

Those running recycling drives are hoping the state will come up with a better solution to ensure that all residents have a place to properly recycle old TVs.

For now, the Defenders are continuing their monthly efforts around the county. The group’s drives include one that occurred Saturday in Harvard and one planned for July 9 in Algonquin, and it is working with McHenry Township to host regular drives there.

“My goal is that everyone will finally get rid of all their TVs and we can go back to collecting light bulbs and Styrofoam,” Santowski said.

Green Drinks – April 6, 2016

Posted on March 23, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

Join us at April’s Green Drinks as we celebrate Earth Day! April 6 from 5-7, at Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, 110 N Main Street in Crystal Lake. We’ll focus on trees and the services they provide for us. We’ll have some local tree seedlings free for the first folks who arrive, thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation and a generous donation.

Our program will be provided by Ed Weskerna, who is the District Manager of the McHenry – Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (MLSWCD). Ed attended Western Illinois University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1978. Ed has been with the MLSWCD since March 1984.

SWCDs work to sustain natural resources to meet the needs of a growing population. For example, for the past 50+ years the McHenry –Lake SWCD has promoted trees as means of increasing wildlife habitat, reducing soil erosion by wind and water and conserving energy by promoting residential and farmstead windbreaks.

Green Drinks is sponsored by the Environmental Defenders and Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen.

Recycle Those Political Signs!

Posted on March 17, 2016 by - Community Events, Environmental Tips, In the News

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is collecting political signs and sending them to New Vision Renewable energy, www.nvre.org.

New Vision Renewable Energy, a nonprofit organization based in Philippi, West Virginia., has distributed solar LED lights in over 28 countries around the world. Ruston Seaman, president and CEO of New Vision Renewable Energy, noted that the light panel is created, in part, from recycled political signs and assembled by disadvantaged students in West Virginia. We hope you will take a look at their website to get a more complete understanding of what New Vision Renewable Energy is about.

If you do not plan to re-use your signs following the election, we hope you will consider making them available to donate to this organization.

Your signs may be brought to the Defenders Recycling Drive in Woodstock on April 9, from 9 AM to Noon, at the Soil and Water Conservation District building, located at the southeast corner of Route 14 and Dean Street.

If that opportunity does not work for you, signs may be delivered to Chicago Logistic Service, 501 Davis Road, Elgin, Illinois, any time at the back of the building.

We will also be able to accept them at the Earth Day event, at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake on April 23, from 11 AM to 4 PM.

EDMC Offers Scholarships

Posted on March 9, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is offering two Entering College scholarships of $1,000 each to two outstanding high school seniors planning to pursue careers directly related to environmental studies.

To be eligible, the applicants must reside in and attend high school in McHenry County, have a respectable GPA, two letters of recommendation, plan to attend an accredited college or university, and complete an application, which is available online here: http://mcdef.org/what-we-do/environmental-scholarship and at the EDMC office: 110 S Johnson St, Ste. 106, Woodstock.

The application and accompanying documents are due in the EDMC office no later than April 15, 2016.

Recycling Drive – March 12, 2016, McHenry

Posted on March 9, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

On Saturday, March 12th, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County (EDMC) will conduct a recycling collection for fluorescent tubes, Styrofoam™, electronics, and batteries from 9am until noon at the Metra Station parking lot, 4005 Main Street, in McHenry. They continue to collect certain items which are not usually accepted by curbside programs, and which would be harmful to the environment if put in a landfill.

The group will accept clean polystyrene foam such as Styrofoam, VHS and cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs, packing peanuts and reusable, un-popped bubble wrap and electronics (most anything that plugs in or runs on batteries).

Specific donation amounts are requested for household alkaline and rechargeable batteries (50¢ per pound), car batteries, fluorescent tubes (50¢ to $1 each), TVs and computer monitors (50¢ per pound up to $30 is asked for each TV or monitor). Donations offset the costs of transportation and proper recycling for those particular items.

EDMC will also accept any kind of cloth items, including clothing, linens and rags, clean and bagged as well as shoes, tied together by their laces and placed in the bag.

Aluminum cans are accepted as a donation.

Environmental Defenders’ recycling drives are held on the second Saturday of each month, at various locations in the county. April’s drive will be in Woodstock.

For information about the recycling schedule and types of materials accepted, visit the group’s website at mcdef.org/recycling or find it on Facebook at facebook.com/EnvironmentalDefenders.

Become a new member of EDMC at the recycling drive, at the Basic or higher level, and get two coupons to recycle a television or monitor for FREE!

An alternate site for electronics, Styrofoam, & batteries is Chicago Logistic in Elgin 847-429-1926.

EDMC SUSPENDS JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2016 RECYCLING DRIVES

Posted on December 22, 2015 by - Community Events, In the News

Due to the unprecedented volume of electronics recently received at the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County’s (EDMC) monthly drives, it is necessary to suspend the January 2016 McHenry and February 2016 Woodstock recycling drives.

In the last two months of 2015 the amount of electronic waste received was triple the monthly average due to the size and quantity of televisions and monitors dropped-off. As a not-for-profit, volunteer organization EDMC cannot continue to sustain the cost and transport of recycling electronics in these quantities.

EDMC has provided additional recycling services to McHenry County communities for over 45 years. The organization has adapted to many changes to continue accomplishing its environmental goals. Because electronics recycling regulations are in flux and profits have been reduced, most recyclers have completely stopped taking televisions and many have simply shut their doors. The Defenders cannot handle this increased amount of e-waste recycling.

The Defenders are urging local governments to provide a solution to meet the needs of their citizens. EDMC hand-delivered proposals to 17 municipalities and 17 townships in McHenry County detailing how to establish an electronic recycling drop-off site. This would provide residents a convenient, local place to responsibly dispose of all electronics. Municipalities or townships have numerous options for setting up collections, with costs possibly as low as $1 per household per month. This needs your support!

Contact your local representative (village, city or township) and ask that person to support the proposal described above: Municipal representative‒ http://bit.ly/CityVillageContact or Township representative‒ http://bit.ly/TownshipContact

For electronic recycling, please visit the Green Guide at mchenry.edu/Recycling/greenguide.pdf

For TV or computer monitor recycling please contact Chicago Logistic Service (847) 429-1926